My Clinical Psychologist introduced me to a powerful tool to add to my arsenal. It is called “mindfulness”:
“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
She walked me through a breathing exercise…complete focus on the breath itself…feeling the cooled air entering my nose…feeling it hit the back of the throat…feeling the rise in my chest as the air enters the lungs…feeling a second, subtle rise of the chest before exhaling…feeling the warmth of the air as it leaves the body.
I was then read a short story about washing dishes, from “The Miracle of Mindfulness”….I will share just one paragraph that sums up the idea of mindfulness very well…
“…If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not ‘washing the dishes to wash the dishes.’ What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future — and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”
I applied this during my walk outside this morning. I took the time to not just see the sun…but to, really, “see” it! I felt its warmth…the rays touching my skin…the brightness shining…the reflection on the leaves. I felt the slight breeze…ever so gently twisting and turning the leaves in the trees…the slight movement of my shirt being pressed against my skin…the movement of the hairs on my arms…
It was truly amazing!! My focus was dramatically shifted…momentarily transported into the present time…fully embracing and experiencing what was happening around and to me.
Below the surface
Threatening to erupt
The inevitable struggle
Whether recognized or not…
Why is there such stigma
An artificial wall per se
Associated with our feelings
That cause me to hide…
For some emotions are friends
The ability to interact
To easily express
I think you have a special gift…
To me the intensity
The incredible raw power
Harnessed within its grasp
I would rather not feel…
I channel in pieces
The emotions that
Are churning within…
As day nine post pain pump surgery begins, it strikes me that my pain specialist really did a great job in preparing me for this! I truly was ready to be homebound for the first two weeks. I was mentally ready to be patient with the process! What a thought!!
My thoughts are still muddled at times…very hard to keep on track. Yet…I can just smile and breath deeply…there is nothing that I have to do…except allow my body the time to heal….allow the scar tissue to build near the pain pump and the catheter.
I am able to step outside now…slowly and carefully with my walker. I do not venture very far…it is just a few steps to feel the touch of the sun on my skin…feel the slight breeze…see the brilliant colors! This is a treat that I enjoy once a day…in the mid morning. It is perfectly timed between rest breaks.
I am thankful that I am able to listen to my body…to sleep when I need to…to relax in my recliner (sitting in the chair…cannot put the foot rest up yet). My chair is just high and firm enough that I can get to a standing position with my walker as support. I know that I am not yet ready to sit or lie down on the couch.
I am getting anxious for my follow up appointment…I am excited to hear the plan my pain specialist has in mind…it will be interesting to see just how easy it is to remain patient! : )
Hopefully I will not scare any of you! LOL
I thought it appropriate to post proof that sleep can happen! Thus the wonderful “bed head” picture!
I have almost no memory of yesterday. It was one of those days that sleep overtook everything.
I did exactly what my body demanded and curled up in bed. I did not even think of combatting the heavy eyelids.
It was actually very freeing to just give in and allow my body to dictate its needs.
I am so thankful for a supportive husband and son that allow me to completely disconnect when my body demands it.
Per conversation with my doctor’s office, I am to continue taking it easy…moving about the house as I can…no bending, twisting, lifting, stretching. All is still looking good under the binder…swelling in lowest part of abdomen present…not nearly like before in other procedures.
At my follow up appointment, we will remove the tape and bandages…and at some point thereafter will be allowed to take a shower! I am thankful that our home is so well prepared for handicap…the bathroom counter is taller than normal….so it is easier to wet hair down.
It is important to make sure you have someone around! No matter how careful you are you will end up dropping something! LOL And…believe me…there is NO way to pick it up without asking for help.
At this point, I am better able to tell the difference from the surgical discomfort vs. the symptoms of my conditions. The surgical discomfort is SO minimal! Yet, it is just enough to be a constant reminder to be extra vigilant.
The side of chronic pain that is difficult to talk about…to me it is also the hardest to admit! It is the darkness that is lurking at the corner of my mind…forever watching and waiting for the chance to pounce…to take over.
It wants to rob us of our relationships…our confidence…our strength…our faith…
This dark shadow that we sometimes view in the mirror looking back at us can have many names…depression, despair, failure, guilt.
It is that dark negativity that threatens to suck the very life out of us…to disrupt any hope of regaining a sense of normalcy…to destroy our relationships.
It happens to each of us…whether we want to admit it or not. It will attack over and over…always at a time that we are mentally weak. Those times when we are in the midst of a flare…when we have not been sleeping…when brain fog is at its thickest…when are finances are stretched to the limit…when our closest relationships are tested, tried and hanging by a thread…
Inevitably it will overwhelm us…it will muddle our thinking…it will suck us down into the darkest depths…it will overtake who we are…
Do NOT allow these times to dictate who you are! We are human…we are going to spend time in the dark…however, this is only temporary. It will NOT last! It does not mean that we have lost our faith…that we have given up the fight…that our closest relationships are forever broken…
It is at this time that we hit bottom…we cry out in the depths of our despair…begging God to help…to have mercy…to forgive us…to strengthen us…
We then rise to the surface from the depths of the darkness…to once again find our inner strength…to embrace those close relationships…to acknowledge and accept our new selves…
As you know, 2017 has been off to an extremely rough start for me. This morning, however, proved to be a great example of how my life has changed because of Fibromyalgia/Polyarthralgia/Chronic Pain Disorder/Neuralgia.
If you saw me this morning, struggling to walk a short distance in the yard, you would never guess that at one point in my life I was running 7-10 miles in a day! Instead, you would have seen someone struggling to lift her right leg…moving awkwardly with jerky motions….pausing for rest…an intense grimace on her face.
I did manage to make it back into the house to my chair…there will not be another “outing” for me today. I am dizzy and very out of it.
Do not feel sorry for me! Just know that I may look “great” on the outside; however, that is FAR from the real truth!
The beautiful lighthouse at Newport, Oregon. Brings back such awesome memories! A weekend of baseball shared with my Sis!